Forum September

The Voice - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan:

'Mysticism of Sound and Music'

(continued from June 2013)

(see also Counsellor)

You can listen to all topics here

I should like to tell you an amusing thing on the subject of the voice. Sometimes a person comes to you and begins to speak about something; and then he says: ‘Hm, hm’; next he says another word and then continues to say: ‘Hm, hm.’ It may be that he has a cold, but it may be that he has not. Yet at that time he is doing this.

Why? Because there is something that he is bringing forth from his mind, and it does not come quickly. The same condition that is going on in the spirit is manifesting in his voice. He wants to say something, but he cannot say it: the voice does not operate, because the mind is not operating. If in the mind there is some obstacle, some hindrance, then in the voice there is also something hindering.

Inspiration chooses its own voice, and when a speaker has to change his voice in accordance with the hall where he is going to speak, then inspiration is lost. Because the inspiration begins to feel: ‘It is not my voice’, it does not come. Then the speaker has to struggle twice: one struggle is that he must speak without inspiration, and the other struggle is that he must be audible to the number of people present. That cannot be done!

Nowadays people have adopted a new method of elocution. A person who has learned elocution can shout as loudly as ten people shouting at the same time, and everyone will think: ‘How wonderful!’ But what impression has it made? None! Nowadays radio technicians have made a kind of horn which they use at stations in the United States. A person takes that horn and on speaking into it his voice becomes twenty times louder. It is all right for trade and business purposes, but when you come to life itself, and when you come to conversation, to speaking to your friends, it is different.

It is a most psychological occasion when you speak to one person or to many persons, because something is taking place which has its echo in the cosmos. No word ever spoken is lost; it remains, and it vibrates according to the spirit put into it. If a person makes his voice artificial in order to convince people, in order to be more audible, and in order to impress people, it only means he is not true to his spirit. It cannot be. It is better for a person to be natural in his speech with individuals and with the multitude, rather than that he should become different.

Now coming to the subject of singing: there are certain things which must be retained in the voice. However much the voice may be developed, however great its volume, however far reaching it may be and should be made by practice, at the same time we must feel responsible for keeping our natural voice through every stage of development that the natural voice is not hurt by it. It does not mean that we should not have a far reaching voice, it does not mean that we should not have a voice of a larger volume, that we should not have a voice that is vigorous and flexible.

Everything that enriches the voice is necessary and should be developed by practice, but all the time keeping in view: ‘I must not sacrifice the natural quality of my voice.’ For every person, every soul must know that there is no other voice like his. And if that particularity of its own voice which each soul has is lost, then nothing is left with it.

Silent voice, in the stillness of night I hear thy whisper.

The gently-blowing wind kindles the fire of my heart.


Vadan - Alankaras

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